SpringHill Christian Camp Extra Support Program

Kids Deserve the Chance to Come to Camp.

Extra Support may be just what your child needs to thrive at Summer Camp

At SpringHill, we believe kids deserve opportunities to succeed at camp, no matter their ability or need.

We provide an embracing community for campers of all skill levels and needs through our Extra Support Program.

“Like Jesus, we accept children as they are, not because of their appearance or athletic ability, not because of their academic ability or how talented they are, but because they are created in the image of God.”   ~ Mark Olson, former President of SpringHill

Loving your children is part of the fabric of SpringHill’s camp ministry. We want campers, no matter their ability, to feel like they belong and have a place at SpringHill.

To accomplish this, we equip staff to address various support needs, including physical, behavioral, emotional, and sensory needs. Our extra support services include housing accommodations, transportation, and activity modification to ensure your child has an unforgettable experience.

Each cabin includes kids with various abilities, backgrounds, and skill levels. Our counselors embrace every child to ensure they feel loved and accepted for who they are.

The Kingdom of God is filled with people who don’t look, act, or think the same. We see extra support as our way of opening the door to the fullness of God’s kingdom and loving those who are often overlooked and marginalized. It is a blessing and a joy to serve campers who otherwise would not encounter Jesus at Camp.

These campers bring light, joy, and understanding to SpringHill.

Options for Extra Support Program

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1:2 Counselor to camper support

This level of extra support allows campers to
remain with their camp group while having an extra support counselor available as needed. One counselor will support 2 campers per cabin in addition to the other campers and the general counselor.

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1:1 Counselor to camper support

This level of support includes an extra support counselor for your camper at all times. They have support during activities and in the cabin, in addition to the general counselor and other campers in their group.
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Activity Adaption

If a camper is independent but has physical support needs, SpringHill can adapt activities to meet their needs.

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Extra attention

Not all campers require a 1:1 or 1:2 counselor to camper care. We can accommodate campers who need a seasoned counselor who can help them navigate challenging dynamics and provide extra attention when required.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we get asked. If you don’t see your question here, please call or email so we can answer it for you!

Is there anything special I need to do when registering a camper who requires extra support?
You can indicate that your camper needs extra support during the registration process.

Our Extra Support Services include physical, cognitive, behavioral, or mental health needs.

Once you mark yes on the application, you will answer a few follow-up questions describing the support needed.

After submitting your application, an Extra Support Consultant will contact you regarding your child’s specific needs.

Do Extra Support Services at camp cost more?
No! There is no additional cost for Extra Support services.
What can I expect after registering for camp and speaking with the Extra Support Team?
Before your camper’s arrival, an Extra Support Leadership Team member will call to discuss the support needs detailed in your initial call. They will review any changes or new concerns you may have. Overnight campers receive a call 1 to 2 weeks before camp, and we make day camp calls the week before your camper arrives.
Is homesickness a reason to request extra support?
No. We have found counselor support services do not improve homesickness. However, Camp Wellness Staff is available if your child experiences homesickness while at camp.
My child received inclusion support (now called Extra Support) at SpringHill in previous summers. I no longer believe they need this level of support. How do I indicate this?
Children’s needs change as they grow. If you believe your camper no longer needs Extra Support, please let us know in advance. A member of our team will discuss how their support needs have changed.

SpringHill reserves the right to decide whether the camper needs Extra Support Services while at camp.

What circumstances might require a camper receiving Extra Support to be sent home early?
SpringHill leadership reserves the right to determine if any camper needs to be sent home. For the safety of all SpringHill campers and staff, the following circumstances could result in a camper leaving early:

  • If the camper violates any “must obey or go home” rule presented on the first day of camp.
  • If the camper threatens to injure another person, and staff members believe the camper intends to carry out their threat.
  • If a camper injures another person at camp.
  • If the camper initiates or participates in repeated hazing or bullying.
  • If a camper has prohibited items.
  • If a camper refuses to obey those in authority.
  • If a camper maliciously causes damage to SpringHill property, vehicles, or facilities.
What is SpringHill's behavior management policy?

If a situation occurs that places a child at increased risk of injury to themselves or others, SpringHill Leaders may use nonviolent physical intervention. If an event transpires that requires an intervention, we contact the parent or guardian of the child immediately. A camper may be sent home based on the severity of a behavior. 

Special circumstances are taken under consideration as well.

Our behavior management policy prevents the use of corporal punishment. We also never deprive a camper of food, water, or sleep. We do not tolerate hazing at camp.

For additional questions regarding SpringHill’s behavioral management policy, please consult the Parent Guide.

FAQ

Support Needs We Can Accommodate.

What support needs can SpringHill's Extra Support Team accommodate?

Our Extra Support team can accommodate campers with a wide range of support needs including but not limited to:

  • Require physical support for walking, climbing, running, games, or activities.
  • Require support in daily living skills such as showering, toileting, changing, or eating.
  • Require basic emotional support.
  • Have an identified disability or special need.

Please contact an Extra Support Consultant if your child’s needs are not listed, but you think they may benefit from our SpringHill Extra Support Program.

What support needs can SpringHill's Extra Support team NOT accommodate?
  • Campers who are unable to stay in a small group setting for 75% of the day.
  • Campers who are unable to communicate their wants and needs safely.
  • Campers who engage in unsafe or violent behaviors when escalated (Elopement, aggression, self-harm, etc.)
  • Campers who threaten or engage in physical violence towards themselves or others when escalated.
  • Campers who require physical restraint or seclusion as a means of de-escalation.
  • Campers who require a high level of medical care.
  • Campers who actively struggle with suicidal ideation.
  • Campers who were recently hospitalized due to their mental health.

SpringHill reserves the right to cancel any registration before camper arrival or send a camper home early following arrival for any camper they feel is a safety threat to themselves or others. 

Is SpringHill a Therapeutic Camp, or does it offer therapeutic programming?

No. SpringHill is not a therapeutic camp; we do not offer therapeutic programming for children.  

SpringHill is unable to provide therapeutic programming and cannot support campers who require this type of programming.

My camper has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at school. Do they need Extra Support?
Not always. Campers with an IEP at school do not always need Extra Support at camp.
Many students have IEPs for academic support. Students with learning disabilities do not tend to need Extra support at camp. However, please note this information on your child’s health
Form so staff members are aware of your child’s needs.

If you are unsure whether your camper needs Extra Support, please contact our Extra Support Team

My camper receives related services at school, such as Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, or Speech Therapy. Do they need Extra Support?

Maybe. Campers who receive related services at school might benefit from Extra Support.  

Please request ExtraSupport on your registration, and our Extra Support Team can further discuss your child’s potential needs.

My camper is in a separate classroom or has a paraprofessional at school. Do they need Extra Support?

A camper who currently learns in a separate classroom or has a paraprofessional at school might benefit from Extra Support. Please request Extra Support on your registration, and our Extra Support Team will call to discuss your camper’s support needs.

Can you support campers who are deaf or have a hearing impairment?

Yes! SpringHill regularly hosts campers who are deaf or have a hearing impairment. We often serve campers with hearing aids and cochlear implants. Please indicate this on the medical form if this applies to your camper. We have outlets inside every cabin so campers can charge medical devices as needed. 

Campers with hearing impairments do not typically need one-to-one Extra Support. However, if your camper is deaf or does not use hearing aids or a cochlear implant, they might benefit from a one-to-one Extra Support Counselor.  

Please note that at this time, SpringHill does not have a certified ASL interpreter on staff.

Can you support campers who are blind or visually impaired?

Yes! Every year, SpringHill hosts campers with visual impairments or who are blind.

Campers with visual impairments typically require one-to-one Extra Support to navigate camp. We can also modify activities and the curriculum to accommodate your camper.

Can SpringHill support campers with complex medical support needs?

SpringHill overnight properties have a volunteer medical professional and infirmary staff on site while campers are present. Counselors have basic first aid training, and our infirmary is available for campers with basic medical needs. Campers with complex medical needs often require more support than Springhill offers.

Please note we can generally support the following:  

  • Campers with well-controlled diabetes  
  • Campers with allergies  
  • Campers with well-controlled Epilepsy with a provided seizure plan  
  • Campers who require daily or emergency meds  
  • Campers with acute/recent injuries. Please indicate the nature of the injury on the camper’s medical form and any limitations. Campers often do not require one-on-one Extra Support, but it is important that SpringHill is aware of their needs and limitations. 
Can campers with physical support needs participate in activities at SpringHill?

Yes! Most activities on our properties can accommodate campers with physical support needs, allowing all campers to complete the activity.

In the rare instance when we cannot accommodate the camper’s needs, our Extra Support Team will provide an alternative activity.

My camper uses an augmented/alternative communication (AAC) device. Are they able to use this at camp?

Yes! Campers who use AAC devices can use them to communicate while at camp.

Certain activities might require the camper to set their device aside while completing the activity. Water and high-adventure activities are an example. Every cabin has outlets campers can use to charge medical devices. 

Can SpringHill support campers requiring support with activities of daily living (ADLs)?

Yes! We train our Extra Support staff to support ADLs. We will discuss your camper’s support needs before your arrival. We might ask you to explain or demonstrate how to best help your camper in these tasks upon arrival to camp.

Can SpringHill support campers who have been put in physical restraints or seclusion within the last six months?

At SpringHill, we do not train our staff on how to use seclusion or restraint, and therefore, we cannot support campers who pose a physical safety threat to themselves, their peers, or our staff.  

If you have questions regarding your child’s behavioral support needs and whether SpringHill would be a good fit, please contact our Extra Support Consultant. 

FAQ

Mental Health Support

My camper struggles with their mental health. Will they need Extra Support at camp?

Campers struggling with mental health can often thrive at camp without Extra Support. However, more severe cases may require more support than the traditional 1:7 counselor-camper ratio can provide.

If you have questions regarding your child’s mental health support needs and whether SpringHill would be a good fit, please reach out to our Extra Support Consultant.

Can SpringHill provide therapeutic support if my camper has been recently hospitalized for inpatient mental health treatment?
No. SpringHill is not a therapeutic camp, and we cannot provide a therapeutic environment.
My camper struggles with self-harm. Will they need Extra Support at camp?
Maybe. It depends on how frequently and recently your child has engaged in self-harming behaviors. Our first priority is determining if SpringHill can provide a safe environment for your camper and, if so, what extra support can we provide to ensure your camper has a positive experience.

Please contact our Extra Support Consultant for an individual intake evaluation, where they can discuss options for Extra Support with you.

My camper struggles with suicidal ideation. Will they need Extra Support at camp?
Maybe. It depends on the frequency and how recently they have struggled with ideation. Our first priority is to determine if SpringHill can provide a safe environment, and if so, then we can decide if your camper would benefit from Extra Support.

Please contact our Extra Support Consultant for an individual intake evaluation, where they can discuss options for Extra Support with you.

Does my camper need Extra Support if they get nervous in new environments?
No. Kids are naturally nervous when encountering a new environment with new people. All our counselors will support them as they have new and exciting experiences!
Does SpringHill employ certified mental health professionals to aid campers with mental health needs?
No. SpringHill is not a therapeutic camp and does not employ certified mental health professionals. If your child requires this level of support, SpringHill may not be the best choice for your child.

However, SpringHill employs a Camper Wellness Assistant who can provide basic mental health first aid when needed. If you have questions, please contact our Extra Support Consultant.

My child struggles with an eating disorder. Is SpringHill a safe environment for them?
Yes! Please let SpringHill know so we can be aware and understand how best to help your camper. We also suggest consulting our Parent Guide, which includes our dining hall menu, to determine if this menu is appropriate for your child. You can send food from home or contact our Food Service Manager, who can make reasonable accommodations.

Please contact our Extra Support Consultant if you have questions or concerns regarding the menu or dietary concerns. Shabel@springhillexperiences.com or call 231-734-2616 and ask for Stephanie Habel.

Max, Extra Support Camper
“This is my first year at camp and I liked studying about God and Jesus and singing the songs. I’m thankful for camp because I made good friends here, like my counselors and the people in the cabin. I want to have a school here and live here forever!”

Overnight Camper
“We had a one-on-one counselor this week with a girl in our cabin, she was so good with her. She was always patient and kind and I feel she was just an inspiration for our group.”

WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY

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